Germany has been hesitant in sending tanks to Ukraine to counter Russian forces, due to “historical reasons,” government sources have told Der Spiegel magazine.
According to the unnamed officials, there is concern within Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government that Kiev could become over-confident if it achieves a series of victories, and might launch an incursion into Russian territory.
Such a development “would mean that German tanks would once again be inside Russia,” Der Spiegel wrote on Friday, in an apparent reference to Nazi Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941.
The fear that German weaponry could be sent into Russia “highlights a certain distrust in Berlin of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. And that, too, is a reason why the defense industry in Germany has not been authorized to deliver battle tanks,” the report claimed.
So far, tanks have only been supplied to the Kiev government by Poland and the Czech Republic, not major arms exporters such as the US, UK and France.
Despite a tank embargo never being discussed at the NATO level, an unofficial agreement on the issue has been reached between Washington, London and Paris, the sources said, and Germany could never be the first country to deliver tanks to Ukraine for “historical reasons.”